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Stakeholders outline their views to Commission on future EU industrial strategy for the European security sector

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BRUSSELS – DG Enterprise and Industry hosted a workshop here on 18 October to gather ideas and feedback from industry and other stakeholders as part of a consultative process to help shape the Commission’s future “communication” or policy statement on an industrial strategy for Europe’s security sector.

Chaired by Christoph Kautz, DG Enterprise and Industry’s deputy head of unit for security research, the event focused on four key policy areas which could form the basis of any future industrial strategy:

  • Certification and standardisation
  • Pre-operational validation/pre-commerical procurement
  • Civil-military synergies in developing capabilities
  • Third-party liability limitation following acts of terrorism

Together, such objectives aim to decrease the security technology sector’s market fragmentation and promote technological investment and innovation, while enhancing the uptake of new capabilities by the member states in order to boost Europe’s overall security against man-made and natural threats.

“We have received a great deal of feedback for our public consultation, so it is valuable to have a collective discussion on the views people have regarding this policy”, Marco Malarcarne, DG Enterprise and Industry’s acting director of space, security and GMES explained in his introduction to workshop participants.

Noting that industry input “fuels a pragmatic and practical approach” to policy, he said “whatever we propose, be it in the research budget or regulatory options, corresponds to the exact requirements of the sector.”

Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, also called for greater collaboration between industry and the Commission. “A strong security industry is a key initiative to prevent and detect terrorist threats”, he told the workshop.

As tragically illustrated by the recent terrorist attacks in Norway, the need for improved European security is not helped by today’s financial crisis, Kerchove observed. “The challenge is more complex in the context of serious budget cuts. We must be more efficient and more effective [by] using scarce resources to reach our goal of providing greater security for our citizens.”

Wrapping up the day’s discussion, Kautz said all stakeholder input gathered by DG Enterprise and Industry will feed into the final recommendations of the communication.

Once unveiled during the first months of 2012, DG-ENTR’s industrial policy community communication will be forwarded to the Council and European Parliament for their review and approval, and subsequently converted into concrete policy actions.

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